Writing Prompt – A Strange Forest Path to an Even Stranger Place

You are hiking a forest trail which you have hiked many times. You gradually notice some details which are not quite right. After while it looks like you are no longer in the same forest but instead somewhere strange.

  • Choose any forest trail that you know well. Describe it in detail: the trees and underbrush, sounds, animals, etc. Is this forest in some mountains, a national park, or the forest behind your house?
  • Explain that you have been down this trail many times and why: exploring as a child, a chance to relax and clear your head after a stressful week of work, hunting, camping
  • Then something changes. Maybe things look increasingly different the deeper you go into the forest, or maybe you find a new trail (which you have never seen before now) veering off of the current trail.
  • The air feels different. Is it more/less humid, calmer or more windy, or a difference that is less tangible?
  • You notice different sounds. Maybe they are ominous or just eerie. Maybe humming or fluttering sounds. Describe them.
  • You notice that the trees, bushes, and underbrush are different, like nothing you have ever seen. Describe them.
  • You notice birds, insects, or other animals that you have never seen anywhere in your entire life. You wonder if your eyes are tricking you.
  • You might see a strange building in the forest.
  • This story is a great opportunity to borrow from mythology, folklore, and fairy tales from any culture. Some possibilities include:
    1. The hut of Baba Yaga
    2. Fairies, dryads, nymphs, satyrs
    3. Forest elf city
    4. Ents
    5. Something that makes people fall asleep for many years
  • How did you get here? Any of these options have great potential.
    1. Did the forest vanish with you inside and appear in a place where such creatures are normal?
    2. If you followed a new path, did it lead into a new realm? Why did the new trail appear in a forest you have visited many times without seeing that trail?
    3. Maybe you did not go anywhere unusual, but these creatures moved into the forest. Why? Are they there to stay?
  • How will you return home? After you return home, will you avoid the forest in the future or return to explore it further?

You are free to use this prompt in your own writing. If you print it or post it online, however, please credit this post.

About henrywm

I am interested in Christian theology and church history. I also enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and stories which wrestle with deep questions.
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